Friday, 20 July 2007

A summer of playing

The school holidays started today and I am as excited as the children at the idea of them being off school and having adventures. Getting muddy, chilling out on the sofa, riding bikes, building forts, making a mess, reading books, colouring, going out, visiting Grandparents - its all good.

As I was tidying their rooms this morning, I realised that I definitely have favourites amongst their toys. Some toys are so fantastic that I never mind playing with them, or even tidying them up. Other toys though are just plain annoying: noisy, too many bits that get lost, breakable and boring.

My list today is in celebration of great toys - ones that you buy for your child or open at Christmas and think "I'm really going to enjoy playing with that!"

Lego - possibly the best toy ever. I love how you can start with a box of random bricks and end up with a space ship, killer ice driller machine or a princess's cave. The only downside is standing on a forgotten brick when you dash into your child's room in the middle of the night.

Something that I didn't have as a child, but will surely become a classic for future generations is Geomag. This wins points from me for being very simple - just magnetic sticks and steel balls. It is very tactile and pleasing to play with. The balls click nicely as they join onto the sticks. You can aimlessly put bits together to make a messy looking spiderweb or go down the more mathematical route and create shapes that have names ending in -oid. No prizes for guessing what we do in our family....

A toy that I did have as a child, and played with endlessly is Playmobil. G bought me this fabulous Playmobil chicken coop set for Christmas, and I share it with the children. As far as I know there isn't a Playmobil eglu, but I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't one someday. These hens even have the same markings as our hens in the garden!

O's favourite toy at the moment is Sylvanian Families. Sometimes the animals from Sylvania join in with the fun in Playmobil land....

But as far as I'm concerned, the best thing to do with a long summer holiday - whatever your age - is settle down in the sunshine with a big pile of books.

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